Social media is a powerful tool that helps businesses tap into consumer insights and connect directly with their potential customers. But for small business owners who are strapped for time and resources, social media marketing can seem like an overwhelming task. Where do you start? What should you post, and how often? How do you reach the right customers? How do you know if what you’re doing is working?

Here are five easy-to-implement tips that will help you tackle the task of promoting and growing your business through social media.

1. Start with Facebook

There are dozens of platforms where you can promote your business. From mainstays such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn, to the new and niche networks that pop up each month, the options can be overwhelming. While specific industries may have strong communities on platforms such as Instagram or Twitter, it’s a universally safe bet to start with Facebook as your primary social platform. Facebook has the largest group of active users, and the most robust offerings for paid promotion.

2. Optimize your Facebook page and get verified

By ensuring your Facebook page is up to date with accurate contact information, web addresses and phone numbers, you can increase your ranking in local search.

Keep scale in mind. The majority of social media traffic comes from mobile devices. Graphics and logos that are clean and streamlined will look best when viewed on a small screen. Once you have your Facebook page set up and optimized, complete the simple steps to become officially verified through Facebook. A gray verification badge tells your customers that your page has been reviewed by Facebook and is an authentic page for your organization.

3. Create a content calendar and examine Insights

Before you jump in and begin posting on Facebook, take a step back and think about your goals and objectives for your page. What do you want to share with your followers? By creating a calendar ahead of time with ideas for posts, themes and topics, you’ll avoid writer’s block when it’s time to post an update.

Avoid being too promotional with your posts. Share a mix of content that is informative, resourceful and entertaining with some light promotion sprinkled in. If you make yourself valuable to your customer, they’ll be more interested in posts about your products or services.

As you begin implementing your content plan, use Facebook’s Insights tool to measure the success and performance of your posts. By keeping an eye on your page’s Insights, you can monitor which types of posts get the most engagement and which fall flat, and you can see the demographic of your audience. Use this feedback to help improve your content as you plan upcoming posts.

4. Make it visual

Posts with images perform 45 percent better than posts with text alone. Professional photography is great if you have it, but you can also take high-resolution images with a smart phone in bright natural light. When posting graphics, try to limit the amount of text included in the image. As a safe rule of thumb, no more than 20 percent of the real estate of an image should include text.

5. Use paid Facebook promotions

Once you’ve set up and optimized your Facebook page, and you’ve made a plan for your content, you can increase the impact of your efforts by implementing paid promotions. Facebook makes it easy to choose the right kind of campaign for your specific business goals, whether you want to grow your audience, send people to your website, or increase engagement. Facebook has sophisticated tools that allow you to zero in on precisely the right people for your products and services. You can target ads using demographics (age, gender, marital status); interests and purchase behaviors or location. You can even use your customer email lists to create custom audiences so that your marketing messages are consistent across multiple channels.

Become a social media standout

Rally your fans, reach new customers and get results: our social media marketing team is eager to tell your story.

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